We managed to get in touch with few teams from the women’s side of Atlantic Coast Regionals. We’re going to do this is a little bit of a different format than the Open Previews. Here goes.
There are plenty of parallels to draw between the University of Georgia’s football team and its Ultimate frisbee team. In the summer and early fall of 2008 it appeared that UGA’s football team appeared to have all the pieces to the puzzle. Many thought that the Bulldogs were a lock to at least go on to the National Championship, if not win the whole thing.
In the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 talk ran rampant on RSD and other Ultimate forums about Jojah’s shot at a national title this season. It seemed that they had all the pieces. An experienced core, nationals experience and a young group of ambitious freshmen and sophomores that could fill in and provide parks of energy for the experienced upper classmen.
Both teams also sprinted out of the gates with a hot start. Jojah defeated Regional rivals Florida at Florida Warm Up and followed that performance up witha tournament win at Queen City Tune Up. However, just like their counterparts of the gridiron, Jojah faltered throughout the season, struggling at national tournaments like The Stanford Invite and Huck Finn.
However, unlike the Bulldogs of the football field, the Bulldogs with the plastic disc did not misstep going into their important postseason. Where the football lost to Georgia Tech, Jojah won the GA/SC Sectionals going away. Perhaps even more importantly, the Georgia student athletes on scholarship did not have a player like Peter Dempsey returning to the field just in time for the most important tournament, the UPA Atlantic Coast Regionals in Charlotte this weekend, of the season so far.
The Seamen pose after winning 2008 College Easterns. Courtesy of Brian Casey
College Ultimate is not like other sports. There are certainly dynasties and perennial powerhouses but they do not come from your typical places. In Division I sports you can always expect Florida, Sourthern California, Ohio State and the like to excel at any sport. However, when it comes to Ultimate there are several dynasties that come from some of the most unlikely of places.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is one of those places. The Seamen began as a team in 1988 and since then have made a name for themselves as one of the best and most physical teams in the nation. UNC-W has been to Nationals several times and this year’s team looks to repeat the performances of their predecessors. However, when this year’s senior class arrived as freshmen, not all was well in the world of Seamen Ultimate.
Florida poses after its victory at the Stanford Invite. Courtesy of Brodie Smith.
There’s a lot of pressure with being on top. Everyone loves to beat the Yankees, the Patriots, the Red Wings and the Lakers. These teams are the types of teams that come into seasons and playoffs with giant, glaring targets on their backs. The Florida Gators (34-2) are the equivalent to these teams in Ultimate. While the Gators have been as dominant in the last several years as Wisconsin, there is something about their swagger that makes people strive to top them.
However, one thing that all of those teams have in common is that they never let that pressure get to them. The Gators and their captain, senior Brodie Smith, share that blissful ignorance of pressure with their professional counterparts and it will show at AC Regionals in Charlotte this weekend.
Courtesy of Robert Runner
Of all the teams that will be in Charlotte this weekend for the UPA Atlantic Coast Open Regionals, UVA Night Train (32-8) may have had the most inauspicious beginning to the season of them all and the fast food chain Wendy’s was at the bottom of Night Train’s difficulties.
Paul Weeks from UNC Darkside sneaks a low-release backhand by a Carleton player at Centex. Photo courtesy of Rob Sayre-McCord
Injuries can be one of the most frustrating things in sports. No matter if you are a spectator, player or opponent, watching a team or an individual struggle through injuries can be heartbreaking. If the thought of lost seasons or potential makes you squeamish, you may want to stop reading now. However, if the thought of a team fighting through injuries and finding a way to making it into the most competitive UPA college Regional tournament in the nation then perhaps you should read on because, perhaps, the story of UNC Darkside and its captain president, Rob Sayre-McCord is your kind of story.